Scanning film has always been a bit of a pain. However, with time comes progress, and Nate over at Negative Lab Pro has been doing some awesome work, making scanning C-41 film using a DSLR or mirrorless easier than ever. However, using Negative Lab Pro with a flatbed scanner has always been a bit lacking. That just changed with Negative Lab Pro 2.0 and an unlikely partner: Vuescan.
Now, I know I've been vocal about my distaste for Vuescan. I'm just not a fan of the general layout, ease of use, etc. However, Vuescan does something that most scanning packages do not: it can create an actual raw .dng file. Negative Lab Pro 2.0 takes advantage of this capability and uses custom profiles to convert those raw files directly in Lightroom. The results are very impressive!
As I say in the accompanying video, DSLR (or mirrorless) scanning is awesome, but for me, it isn't practical because of reasons of space and light. Namely, you need an even light source, set up in an area with a minimum of stray light. Of course, I have a darkroom, but it's already cluttered in there, and the last thing I want to do is add more mess to the equation. Using the scanner that I already possess to create awesome scans (albeit not quite as sharp as a DSLR scan) makes more sense for me. Check out the video for the workflow and see how easy it is to get good results! I'm not sponsored by Negative Lab Pro or Vuescan. The workflow is just that good.
There's an excellent forum over at Negative Lab Pro's website that has more info and best practices on scanning into Vuescan. I'm sure following those tips can only make your experience even better!
Special thanks to my subject, musician, and photographer, Cognito.